Is there an exodus underway at Hewlett-Packard (HP)?
As the dust settles on its $19 billion takeover of Compaq Computer, a growing number of high-ranking people at the systems and services giant have said they are leaving the company.
Those who have gone, or who intend to leave or retire soon, include Jeff Clarke, vice president of global operations; Suzette Stephens, vice president of global communications; Mary McDowell, HP’s senior vice president of strategy and corporate development; Webb McKinney, who led the merger integration effort with Clarke; Susan Bowick, the human resources executive who helped blend the two companies’ workforces; Howard Elias, HP’s senior vice president of business management for enterprise systems. Mark Sorenson and Mark Lewis, enterprise storage executives, were also recently poached by EMC.
Many but not all of these came from the Compaq side, sparking speculation that a purge is underway. But others say it has more to do with cyclical factors, the sense that the integration job is now almost over, and a bout of poaching from rivals.
It is still too early to say what (if anything) all this means for HP’s customers. But it is probably good news, suggesting a final rationalisation is underway. In any case, some critics of the merger have begun to reassess their previously harsh views after some good results.